Every Christmas I wait expectantly to see what new and novel way WestJet employees create something special for this time of year. This last year they did not disappoint. In case you missed it they did "The 12 Flights of Christmas" by working with children from the Boys and Girls Club to make their perfect Christmas dream come true.
Each Year Different
For at least the last four years the staff at this airline have picked unique and heartwarming ways to say thank you and to show kindness. Their "Santa Surprise" garnered literally hundreds of millions of hits on their web site and was covered by news and TV shows around the world.
How Do You Drive Engagement?
Why do I bring this up you ask? Because WestJet prides itself on employee engagement. They use the catch phrase "every employee is also an owner!" The idea being that if every employee took ownership of the business they worked for everyone would go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure its success. It is what we call discretionary effort.
What would your business or group look like if everyone on it demonstrated this kind of discretionary effort? How much easier would it be to lead a group like this? The goal of great leadership is, in fact, to do exactly that - get your team to operate in that realm of discretionary effort.
Allow For Ownership
Giving your team the opportunity to provide input, letting them know where they stand with you and the competition, providing a voice for those closest to the action to enact improvements and recognizing those behaviours are all ways that you can ramp up your employee engagement and discretionary effort. Involvement leads to commitment and commitment leads to ownership.
Your business may not be a WestJet yet or your group may not seem that significant but give your staff some room to spread their wings and let them surprise you. What would your business look like with that level of engagement? Performance Leadership - Think About It!
Oh, and don't forget to watch out for what they do this year!